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Questions and Answers
Q: Can I get the examples that the speaker shared that describe the four levels of the Workplace Bullying Continuum?
A: You can watch the recorded webinar for additional information regarding workplace bullying. Additionally, please keep in mind that, while they are referred to as levels, the categories of bullying behavior simply offer a way to structure our thinking. Workplace bullying may or may not involve more than one of the category levels.
Q: Do you think that statements or bullying that occurs within social-media settings such as Facebook and Twitter will be grouped into workplace bullying?
A: Cyberbullying is defined as persistent and ongoing acts of incivility involving electronic information and communication technology (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.). If statements made on social-media sites fit the definition of workplace bullying (repeated and ongoing acts of incivility with the intent to harm), then they probably fall into the category of bullying. Bullying behaviors can occur without actual spoken words.
Q: What is the best way to handle a long-term employee who consistently displays bullying behaviors? Her behavior is not new, but, as her new manager, would it be bullying on my part to discipline her actions even though they’ve been brushed under the rug in the past?
A: No. By virtue of the fact that an employee has agreed to work within an organization, that employee agrees to guidance and direction from leadership within the organization. However, if the guidance is persistently delivered disrespectfully and with an intent to cause emotional or physical harm to the employee, then it would be considered bullying. Keep in mind, however, that respectful correction or coaching from a supervisor is not bullying. Remember from the webinar slides—and you can review that section for more information—that bullying is NOT guidance or direction from authority figures.
Q: What strategies can you share for working with a person who displays bullying behaviors, but who does not perceive himself as a bully or as intimidating?
A: This brings us back to the importance of questions such as: Does the behavior meet the definition of bullying? Is it persistent and ongoing? Is there, on some level, intent to harm, whether or not the person exhibiting the behavior is aware of it? Does the person’s behavior align with the organization’s definition of bullying? That is why it is so important to have policies and procedures in place regarding bullying. If you need help getting started, please refer to our Workplace Bullying Prevention and Response Policies and Procedures Template.
Q: Could employees who are bullying others be given a disciplinary review for their actions?
A: Certainly, if they are violating an organization’s policies and procedures or code of conduct on expected workplace behavior. Also, in some jurisdictions, there is antibullying legislation; therefore, organizations within those jurisdictions may have other considerations to follow based on applicable laws. I have included three other webinar’s that might be of interest to you:
1. Supporting all Students: Creating a Safe and Caring School Webinar
2. Create a Culture of Safety Webinar
3. Dementia Care: Challenges and Solutions Webinar